Article on MobileBE by Flavia Lucidi, INFREP, published on 30.1.2018 on EPALE
Available also in French, German, Romanian
The alarming illiteracy statistics in Europe
According to the latest statistics provided by the European Commission, nearly 75 million European adults lack the basic skills needed to play an active role within society. In France, for example, the ANLCI (National Agency for the Struggle Against Illiteracy) believes that 7% of the adult population aged between 18 and 65 is in a situation of illiteracy; that is, 2,500,000 people. In the face of this alarming fact, Europe is dealing with the issue by supporting the Member States' activities in the fight against illiteracy.
MobileBE: a project focused on basic education, co-financed by the Erasmus+ programme
The development of key skills figures among the priorities of the Erasmus+ programme, the European Commission's flagship programme in the field of education, training, youth and sport, whose budget for the year 2018 amounts to nearly 2,500 million euros.
The MobileBE project (Mobile Basic Education for adults), coordinated by the Hanover Volkshochshule in partnership with other European structures, will be implemented over a period of three years in the context of this programme. Infrep, the Professional Training Institution of the League of Education, is taking part in this project through two of its agencies: Cherbourg-Cotentin and Carpentras.
Launched in October 2017, this project benefits from European co-financing of almost 400,000 euros. It aims to extend basic training to adults who, because of their specific circumstances (single parents, shift workers, family caregivers, people with health problems or those living in remote areas and/or rural areas, etc), cannot follow conventional training courses which take place at a specific time and place.
New training methods for the less mobile publics
In order to meet the needs of these publics, the MobileBE project's objective is to develop alternative and bespoke training methods, which can also (but not necessarily) include remote or e-learning training courses.
Sixteen new training methods will be developed by the eight structures which partner the project, namely:
- VHS Hanover (Germany) - project coordinator
- Wiener VHS (Austria)
- CPEPA Ricardo Sola Almau Cariñena/Zaragoza (Spain)
- Zdruzenie Znanie Loveč (Bulgaria)
- Infrep (France)
- Consorzio OPEN (Italy)
- VHS Göttingen (Germany)
- Västerås folkhögskola (Sweden)
Each new training method should facilitate the target public's access to training and strengthen participants' motivation, to allow an initial analysis of their needs as well as the validation of their acquired skills.
The sixteen methods will then be tested and documented during the pilot projects.
A close partnership, taking strength from its differences and its similarities
"The strength of the MobileBE partnership lies both in the diversity of the partner organisations, with their national contexts and the specific problems they are facing, and in their similarities - in terms of aims and objectives - which favours the interchange of experiences and results," says Christian Geiselmann (Volkshochshule Hanover).
The meeting to launch the project, which took place in Vienna in October 2017, enabled the partners to agree on its general implementation framework, and to launch its first phase: a collection of good practices; and a thorough analysis of the needs of their target publics.
A broad approach to basic education
At this launch meeting, the partners learned to know one another, discussed the concept of 'Basic Education for the Less Mobile Adults' and developed it, in particular by adopting a broader approach to basic education which combines linguistic, mathematical and digital skills with behavioural and social skills: "We agreed that the fundamental goal of basic education is to allow people to participate adequately within society. This has to be reflected by a broader vision of training in the basic skills," observed Christian Geiselmann.
Two Infrep agencies involved in the project
Following this meeting, the Infrep agencies in Cherbourg-Cotentin and Carpentras defined the publics at which they wish to aim in their pilot initiatives: for the Cherbourg Agency, this will be low-skilled employees and job seekers living in rural areas or cities of less than 10,000 inhabitants; the Carpentras agency will focus on isolated women with dependent children, and on agricultural workers.
Translation (French - English) : EPALE France